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Oyster Bay Town Board to vote on 400% parking rate increase

A permit is required to park at the

A permit is required to park at the Massapequa train station, seen here on Jan. 16, 2018. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

The Oyster Bay Town Board plans to vote on a 400 percent parking permit fee increase at its meeting Tuesday night, according to a draft of the plan.

The proposed increase to $100 from $20 for a two-year permit for residents in unincorporated areas of the town is lower than the 900 percent hike considered in January. That plan would have raised the fee to $100 per year and was unanimously rejected at the Feb. 6 meeting in order to clear the way for a new resolution. Senior residents in unincorporated areas would still pay $20 under the new proposal.

Fees for incorporated villages would be raised by 50 percent to $120 per year from $80 under the proposal.

The plan also would end the practice of offering free “green” parking permits to the owners of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles that began in 2007 under a town board resolution to encourage their use.

Oyster Bay finance director Robert Darienzo said at the Feb. 6 meeting that the fee increases would create a surplus in the town’s parking budget this year that would allow for a tax cut in 2019.

Town officials did not respond to requests for estimates of the revenue the proposed fee hikes would raise. The original proposal for a 900 percent increase would have brought in about $1.3 million in additional revenue, if the level of permit holders remained unchanged. A fee hike was not included in the 2018 budget.

Oyster Bay spokeswoman Marta Kane on Monday emailed a statement attributed to Supervisor Joseph Saladino that said the proposed fee increase “is a fair amount and important to shift some of the maintenance costs from our homeowners to those who utilize the lots.”

The majority of the town’s parking expenses are paid through property taxes rather than fees.

Councilman Anthony Macagnone said Monday he doesn’t know what the administration wants to do with the additional revenue.

“I don’t want to see this as a way of adding to our coffers without easing the burden to our commuters,” he said.

Macagnone said he expected to meet with Saladino, two department heads and three residents Monday night as part of a committee to look at ways to increase the number of parking spaces.

The number of parking spaces in Hicksville is to decrease this summer when the parking garage is closed for three months for repairs.

Residents at the Feb. 6 meeting complained they could not find parking even after paying for permits. The town issued 41,202 permits that were valid at the beginning of this year for 6,891 spaces, according to numbers provided by the town clerk’s office.

Robert Freier, spokesman for the Oyster Bay Democrats, said Saladino’s fee hike proposal, coming after a $1.3 million tax cut passed just before the November election, was “a shell game he played when he was running for election claiming a tax cut, and now he’s raising fees after the fact to create a surplus.”

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